Earthquake in Afghanistan (June 2022)

Article

July 6, 2022

On June 22, 2022 at 01:24 local time (UTC + 4:30), an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 occurred in Afghanistan near the Durand line separating Afghanistan and Pakistan (according to other estimates - 5.9 or 6.1). At least 1,500 people died and another 2,000 were injured, making this the deadliest quake of 2022.

Background

Situation in Afghanistan

In 2021, the Taliban terrorist organization seized power in Afghanistan. Many international humanitarian organizations, due to security concerns and the poor human rights situation in Afghanistan, have ceased operations in the country. The Washington Post estimates that this could significantly slow down rescue operations in the country. Earthquakes have killed more than 7,000 people in Afghanistan over the past decade, an average of 560 deaths per year. A massive earthquake in 2015 in northeastern Afghanistan killed more than 200 people in the country and in neighboring Pakistan. In 2008, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in western Pakistan killed 166 people; landslides caused by the earthquake destroyed several villages. Earlier strong earthquakes in 2002 and 1998 claimed the lives of more than a thousand and about 4,700 people, respectively.

Tectonic setting

Most of Afghanistan is located in the zone of continental deformation within the Eurasian plate. Seismic activity in Afghanistan is influenced by the subduction of the Arabian Plate in the west and the subduction of the Indian Plate in the east. The rate of subduction of the Indian Plate along the continental convergent boundary is estimated to be 39 millimeters per year or higher. Transpression is observed. Seismicity is recorded at a depth of 300 kilometers and is caused by plate subduction. The Chaman Fault is a large transform fault where strong earthquakes occur with a shallow hypocenter; it forms a transpressional boundary between the Eurasian and Indian plates. This zone consists of seismically active thrust and strike-slip faults.

Ratings

Initially, the USGS reported a magnitude 6.1 earthquake at a depth of 10 kilometers, later the magnitude was reduced to 5.9. The USGS also reported that